[78attendees] WARNING: Taxis in Brussels

Adam Roach <adam@nostrum.com> Fri, 30 July 2010 18:01 UTC

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Date: Fri, 30 Jul 2010 20:01:17 +0200
From: Adam Roach <adam@nostrum.com>
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Subject: [78attendees] WARNING: Taxis in Brussels
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  For the few of you who haven't made the transition yet...

I just arrived in Brussels via train. When we got here, the wait for the 
transfer to the (10-minute) airport train was 54 minutes, so two of us 
decided to take a taxi out to the airport area. The total drive took 
about 8 minutes, and it was our understanding -- albeit through a bit of 
a language barrier -- that the driver expected the trip to be 
approximately €5.00 each (which is in line with what we were paying for 
cabs in and around Maastricht).

I was dropped off first. My traveling companion just called from his 
nearby hotel to let me know that the driver demanded €50.00 when they 
got there. To top it off, the cab driver claimed to be out of receipts, 
so we're now stuck with a €50.00 charge that we can't be reimbursed for.

The car was quite credibly a taxi, with official-looking signage and a 
permanently-attached lighted "Taxi" sign on top. It was so convincing 
that I'm still not certain whether we were swindled, or whether the 
taxis in the the area really are that expensive. But any rational 
analysis of the price keeps pushing be back toward this being a shake-down.

The take-away lesson here -- and it's one that I've known, but never 
thought would need to apply to somewhere like Brussels -- is to make 
certain you locate and examine whatever licensing certificate a 
purported taxi driver has been issued by the local authorities before 
you get in the cab.